Many local game stores hold regular Magic: The Gathering game events. These certainly can be a great deal of fun, but the stores can be intimidating spaces for some, and a player may like to have food and drink choices beyond just convenience-store snacks and drinks for more socialization. One of the virtues of a game like Magic is that it can be an opportunity to get out into the community and socialize on a regular basis.
Addressing the food and drink issue are the Twin Cities game stores that combine their shop space with a more exciting menu. Both Universe Games in Minneapolis’s Lyn-Lake neighborhood and Lodestone Coffee and Games in Minnetonka are home to high-quality coffee shops that provide drinks of a variety of types. Fantasy Flight Games Center, despite naturally focusing on games published by Fantasy Flight, also has a weekly Magic night that can be combined with its beer and full-service restaurant menu. This also makes Fantasy Flight an excellent place for informal gaming gatherings with friends.
However, many players are getting outside the store setting altogether. A lot of bars and restaurants are suitable for informal gatherings. Local Magic: The Gathering Mythic Champion competitor “Amateur Pro” Gregory Michel says, “A lot of breweries have board-game shelves these days, so showing up with the plan of playing games is definitely reasonable. You probably want to scout places in advance to make sure they’re not crowded. One particular place I could point out is BlackStack Brewing in St. Paul—it’s right above the super fun indoor minigolf/arcade that is Can Can Wonderland, but they also have a lot of space and great board games. I’m sure they’d be a great place for casual Magic playing, and you can go to Can Can too and make an awesome day out of it.”
There are also more formal gatherings that game stores organize at various locations outside of the game store. Recently, Mead Hall Games had a Legacy tournament at the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis with a full taco bar and a dress code. Legacy is one of the Magic: The Gathering formats that uses cards from the entire history of the game, and decks can be very expensive, so the fancier location was particularly appropriate. In a thread in the Twin Cities Geeks Facebook group, attendee Scott Peitzer commented, “Fancy Legacy was amazing—easily the best Legacy tournament I’ve played in. The venue was beautiful and the tacos were delicious. It was particularly nice to actually be able to eat between rounds, and there was plenty of room for everyone to spread out. And it was pleasant to have a bourbon to sip on while playing. But the best part was that it was all grownups, so the atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly.”
There are also regular gatherings at a number of different bars and breweries around town—Dreamers Vault Games, for one, has organized them at Modist, Clockwerks, and Republic. Attendance at some of these events can be strong enough that several different “pods” of six to 10 players can participate in a booster draft. The next meetups at Clockwerks and Modist are on March 6 and March 13, respectively, both starting at 6:00 p.m.
If you’d like to find an event that’s right for you, searching online—especially on Facebook—is a good place to start. Minnesota Magic: The Gathering and Twin Cities Competitive Limited, to name two, are groups where you might find your next regular gaming night or a casual gathering. Both are fun ways to spend a few hours out in the community playing some games.